Sawyer Fredericks and Ben Stalets – Rumba Cafe – Columbus, Ohio
Article and Photos by Ethan Andrews
On a crisp cold October night in Columbus, Ohio, I found my way to the Rumba Cafe to watch Sawyer Fredericks perform his passionate home-style “Free Range Folk” set with opener Ben Stalets. Moments after arriving I found myself directly in front of Ben Stalets, a Toledo native, stealing away the crowd’s attention with his unique lyricism and songwriting style. Stalets’ career debut came in 2014 with the album Winds Blown Cold. Having never really listened to Ben, I really didn’t know what to expect. After his performance, I find that may just be the best way to have heard his music. Every mannerism that came with his songs outlined his passion for music and got the crowd in tune with him.
Sawyer Fredericks Takes the Stage
Stalets was a perfect opening for the talented Sawyer Fredericks and company, waiting behind the curtains. The small venue erupted as Fredericks entered the stage and opened with his famous recording “I’m A Constant Man Of Sorrow” that helped launch him into the limelight on the show The Voice. After watching the performance, back in my mind I realized how soulful and passionate every song was of his. He noted at one point, “When co-writing on The Voice, the only way I could really write and finish a song was if every single person in the room left, which as you can guess doesn’t work for co-writing.”
All of Sawyers’s songs are his own writings, feelings, and thoughts, which add another layer to his dynamic and vibrant personality. Throughout the concert, however, you are able to grasp a greater respect and appreciation for his crew featuring Jerome Goosman on guitar, Ganon Ferrell on bass, and Chris Thomas on drums. The crew is a remarkably talented group who all had their own excellent solos throughout the set. Given the chance again, I personally would not miss out another Sawyer Fredericks concert. Overall, the energy, passion, and talent that come out in his group are truly amazing and worthy of playing in much bigger venues.